Genre: Fiction – Historical Fiction – London Tower – Romance
📖 So, I recently read the Ravenmaster by Chris Skaife (fabulous book, highly recommended) then whilst doing the weekly shop, I meandered down the book aisle and this beauty popped out at me. I must say, the cover is stunning, well done to the illustrator. I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover… but this one is very pretty. And luckily the book was enjoyable too! So, win-win.
✍️ This is such an intriguing little book. Joan is quite an interesting character a hard worker who adapts to most situations that come her way, she sees all that happens at court, yet rarely does she interfere. Joan’s mother enjoys the patronage of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, so Joan becomes a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York from an early age. Joan’s depiction of courting, motherhood and life at court is quite fascinating. Hickson captures the fear that unwanted courtship from a man in a superior position, very well and it gives a real insight into what court life must have been like for a woman in a position such as Joan’s.
🗣 I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:
‘Think yourself honoured, young mistress. The ravens avoid us men because the archers use them for target practice. But there is a legend, which says that as long as they haunt the Tower, it and the kingdom will stand. Just lately they’ve been coming and going so perhaps there’s something in it.’ At the time I didn’t understand what he meant but so vividly had the raven’s image imprinted itself in my mind, that the incident and his words remained with me ever since.
👓 Joan’s escape from court appears to come in the form of caring for the Ravens. The birds are often tormented by the guards, yet they stay strong and resolute, and with the support and protection of Joan and her family, they even begin to thrive.
👫 I enjoyed the inclusion of Joan’s husband Richard who underneath everything was a lovely, kind man whose love and loyalty to his family shined through. I enjoyed reading about the couple and how their story developed across the pages. Her adopted role of a stepmother was a great inclusion in the story and again I enjoyed that the author did not take the path of a hated stepmother but a family trying to make their way together during a difficult period of history.
🗺 I quite enjoyed this different take on the Tudor period (an often-saturated market when it comes to historical fiction books). The Country is recovering from the War of the Roses and this story features the early reign of Henry VII. There is a continual threat of revolt and fear of false allegiances within the court (indeed, within Joan’s own family), all of which add drama to an already busy court life.
💔 Any Negatives: I really enjoyed this book but there were areas that, for me, dragged on a bit. It is very well researched, but I feel some of the action could have been a bit more centre stage.
💭 Overall View: An enjoyable book and a great new take on the Tudor period. I’m looking forward to reading more from this fabulous author.
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